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Sober Holiday Tip Twelve - Pause, Pray, Proceed

Managing our emotions and staying sober (and positive) during the holidays can be challenging. Before my sobriety, I used to just drink over any emotion that made me uncomfortable. I didn't realize I have control over my thoughts and actions.

I've discovered the connection between my thoughts and my emotions (and thus my drinking).

When I have expectations (thoughts) on what I think should happen, the way things should be... then I set myself up for resentments when things don't turn out the way I thought they should.

A lot of "shoulds" in that paragraph. I'm shoulding all over myself!

But, when I change my thoughts and let go of expectations and "control" over situations, life gets so much nicer and easier. For me, and for my loved ones. I've tried to stop "shoulding" all over them too!

Here's some tips for helping you stay sober this holiday time and manage your thoughts, emotions and expectations:

First, it's important to identify your triggers. What situations or people make you feel angry, frustrated, or resentful? Once you know your triggers, you can work on avoiding them or finding healthy ways to cope. This might involve practicing mindfulness or meditation, taking a walk, or talking to a friend or sponsor.

Next, it's crucial to manage your expectations. When we expect too much from ourselves or others, we set ourselves up for disappointment and negative emotions. Instead, try to focus on achievable goals and be kind to yourself when you stumble. Remember that recovery is a journey, not a destination.

It's so important to let go of resentments (which stem from expectations). Holding onto negative feelings towards others only hurts yourself in the long run. Try to practice forgiveness and empathy, even towards those who have wronged you. This can be a difficult process, but it's essential for maintaining your sobriety and mental health.

And, in the heat of the moment remember to practice the three P's - Pause, pray and proceed:

  1. Pause: When you notice a negative thought entering your mind, take a moment to pause and acknowledge it. Try not to judge it or get caught up in it, just observe it as if it were a passing cloud in the sky.

  2. Pray: This step is optional, but if you are a spiritual person, you may find it helpful to say a prayer or affirmation to help you let go of the negative thought and replace it with a more positive one.

  3. Proceed: Once you have paused and prayed (if you choose to), it's time to proceed with your day. You can choose to let the negative thought go and focus on something else, or you can actively replace it with a positive thought.

I have over three and a half years sober, and realize that managing your emotions and expectations is key to maintaining sobriety and living a fulfilling life in recovery.

Happy Holidays and tomorrow is Tip Number 13!

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